CLUSTER MONROE “C.M.” RHODES, was born minutes before his twin brother, Cluvis Woodrow, on August 4, 1920 in Yale, OK. He grew up in Seminole, OK, graduated from Pleasant Grove High School and Abilene Christian College, and then married his high school sweetheart, Vera Pauline “Polly” Dickerson. During WWII, Rhodes served as an Army glider pilot instructor. After deciding to pursue a career in the ministry, he accepted a preaching position at the downtown Church of Christ in San Diego, CA, which he held for 2½ years before moving to Tripoli, Libya, North Africa as a missionary. Four years later Rhodes and his family returned to the U.S. and settled in Selma, AL where he served as a Church of Christ minister for more than a decade. An avid student of theology, civil rights and communism, he lectured at various colleges and civic organizations across the country, and was granted an Honorary Doctor of Divinity title by the London Institute for Applied Research in 1973.
Rhodes eventually moved back to Oklahoma to set up a gas and oil distributorship in Muskogee. That business thrived over 20 years until he was diagnosed with macular degeneration, declared legally blind, and forced to retire. He sold the business but remained active – walking a mile or more every morning with his Schnauzer, continuing biblical studies, thanks to a V.A.-supplied magnifying screen, and collaborating with his daughter to pen his memoirs of their life in Africa and his 6500-mile trek across the Sahara Desert by jeep.
January 2015 Rhodes moved to Orlando, FL where his daughter cared for him until his death on March 24, 2016. He was predeceased by a son – Richard Don, his first wife, Polly, and his second wife, Mary Barbara.
Surviving kin include daughters Linda Adams and Karen Dismukes, a son – Randall, stepsons Jay Davis and Terry Davis, and five grandchildren.
Rhodes’ remains will be cremated but no funeral services are planned locally.